Dogo Onsen, in central Matsuyama, is one of Japan's oldest hot springs with the main honkan one of the most famous locations at its very center. This wooden public bathhouse dates back to 1894 (Meiji Period) and is said to be one of the inspirations behind film director Hayao Miyazaki's acclaimed Spirited Away anime.
Renovation works are being carried out until 2024. During the first phase, two baths on the first floor remain open to the public while the floors above will close. Parts of the building will be covered with scaffolding during the renovation, though it is also the intention to maintain visible parts of the exterior to minimize the impact on tourists. Read More
The Honkan or Main Building is Dogo Onsen's most famous structure — its picturesque exterior making it the star of photography and Studio Ghibli enthusiasts. One of Japan's oldest hot springs, Dogo Onsen Honkan is designated a National Important Cultural Property and has been renovated several times to preserve as much of its original state as possible. The 3-story structure was designed by Matahachiro Sakamoto, a master craftsman who also played a role in designing Matsuyama Castle. Within the Honkan itself, there are two bathing areas to choose from — Tama no Yu and Kami no Yu.
Constructed in 1953, the Tsubaki no Yu Bathhouse adopts the tsubaki (camellia flower) into its design. The tsubaki flower is a symbol of Matsuyama City. Since its construction and prior remodelling in 1984 and 2017, Tsubaki no Yu has been a local favorite due to its 100% natural hot spring water and charming interior that resembles a kurayashiki (warehouse-office-residence hybrid building).
Unlike the other two bathhouses, Asuka no Yu is a newly constructed building that opened in late 2017. It was named after the architectural style of the Asuka period, which the building was designed to emulate. What makes Asuka no Yu distinct from the Honkan are its open-air baths and private bathing room that was designed to model the Yushinden (the private bath the Imperial Family used at the Honkan).
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